Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Be a Henson, Not a Peary

People usually seem to break down into one of two types as we get to know them: nice people and jerks. While it seems that the majority of the glory goes to jerks because they get things done, once in a while a nice guy gets the top spot.

I don't know anything about Arctic exploration so I'm getting my information from the article I link to below. It tells about Robert Peary and Matthew Henson. While Peary is usually noted to be a great Arctic explorer, he couldn't have done it without Matthew Henson -- a black man that Peary considered inferior.

Peary was your typical jackass -- he had to be on top and right all the time. He couldn't be bothered with other people, unless they were pulling him out of frigid waters. All that mattered was what he wanted and that he got the credit for it.

Henson, on the other hand, was the de facto leader of the crew over their several expeditions. He connected with the Eskimos and learned their language. He was respected by them and the men on the expedition. He was a hard worker and always worked on expanding his skills.

I think about this because it's report card time at school. While I push my kids to do well in school, I try to temper it. I want them to succeed like Henson, not Peary. Because if you're a jerk, success doesn't really matter. People do, and the kids need to learn that.

You can find the original article here. It's a very good article and I would recommend taking the time to read all of it.

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